Skier visits down 15.3 percent at Vail Resorts |

Skier visits down 15.3 percent at Vail Resorts

DENVER (AP) – With snowfall lagging, fewer skiers and snowboarders are hitting the slopes at Vail Resorts properties so far this season.

The company said Friday that visits were down 15.3 percent compared with the ski season through New Year’s weekend last year. Lift ticket revenue is up 0.6 percent through Jan. 2, but the company said people who bought season passes aren’t using them as much as last season, when resorts benefited from lots of snow.

The lack of snow has prevented the back bowls at Vail from opening as of Jan. 6, which hasn’t happened in 30 years. Vail had 41 inches of snow on Christmas Day 2010 but only 19 inches in 2011.

Lake Tahoe didn’t get any snow at all during December, something the company said hasn’t happened since the late 1800s.

Chief executive officer Rob Katz said the company’s investment in snowmaking has allowed its two Lake Tahoe area resorts, Heavenly and Northstar, to open more terrain than other area resorts combined.

With three-quarters of the ski season left, Katz said the company isn’t revising its earnings guidance. But he acknowledged that it would be harder to meet its targets given the holiday results.

Vail Resorts also operates Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone resorts in Colorado and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

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